Every entrepreneur, business person or digital marketer, regardless of the size of his company, will have to invest in email marketing at some point. It wasn’t always this simple. Several years ago, if you wanted to let people know that something is happening you had to go to your local newspaper or post an ad. Nowadays, reaching out to your followers is only a few clicks away. But even with this simplified method of outreach it can be complicated to keep track of everything and monitor the performance of your campaign. This is where email marketing software comes into play.
Different software can help you complete many tasks such as automatically sending follow-up messages, analysing the impact of certain emails, gathering intelligence, enticing new visitors etc. The most important aspect of email marketing software is the fact that it eliminates the need of hiring professional advertising firms while also streamlining your online marketing efforts.
Not sure if you’re ready to invest in email marketing software? These 7 signs should help you find the answer.
Before you start using specific software you should decide exactly which one is the best for you. In order to do this you must take into account a few, very important, factors:
- Do you need it for email creation? You probably do. The good news is that there are plenty of tools that will help you blast emails to thousands of followers. They include features such as text-only HTML messages, editing tools, powerful visuals, hyperlinking and image inserting options etc. One of the most important aspects of email creation software is to allow you to preview your final product before sending it out. Find out if the software you desire can do this for you.
- Do you need to manage your contacts? It is extremely important to create a list of your most important clients before you start sending messages out. The basic solution would be a tool that will upload and import from XLS files. The best contact management email software on the market also have the ability to segment lists according to individual behaviour and demographics data.
- Are you looking for reporting & sending capabilities? Arguably the best thing about email marketing software is the fact that it offers powerful insights about your customers. You can find out what makes them tick by monitoring their reactions to your mails (if they are opening your mails or deleting them, unsubscribing etc.) or if your messages are reaching the right audience, among other. This information is presented to you under the form of graphic visualizations and statistics.
- How important is Help & Support to you? An often overlooked aspect is customer care. What do you do if a feature isn’t working properly or you can’t understand your tool’s dashboard? While shopping for email marketing software you should also take a look at the quality of support given through live chat, phone, or email.
Email marketing software options are bountiful, and you are sure to find a suitable one as long as you understand your company’s needs. Read as many reviews as possible prior to making a purchase. With the above stated factors in mind, I have reviewed some of the most popular email marketing tools. Here are my top 5 picks:
Price: from $ 19/month to $ 149/month | Type: email creation & reporting
One of the oldest email marketing software available, AWeber has a plethora of incredible features that will help you understand the inner workings of your customers’ minds. The company’s motto “We’ll help you grow your business in 30 days” is supported by the surprisingly useful set of tools put at your disposal: auto-responders, full-integration with PayPal, Heyo, Shopify, Facebook, WordPress & more, migration options for follower lists, seamless customer experience, 150+ message templates etc.
Probably one of the most useful features of AWeber is the monitoring one that can tell you anything number of opens over time to individual clicks and click-through-rates.
- The Good: cannot send emails to multiple lists or forward to friends. It does not integrate with Google Analytics, offers no image hosting or survey feature.
- The Bad: Easy-to-use & cheap email marketing software with a variety of useful features.
Price: from $ 14/month to $ 149/month | Type: email creation & reporting, social networking
Number two on our list of email marketing software is iContact, a simple and effective tool for tracking campaigns, performing surveys and outreach automation. As is the case with most good tools, iContact also has a dedicated team of experts that will help you get your campaign off to a good start. The software is considered by many, including TopTenReviews, the best one available right now.
iContact understands user behaviour, and for this purpose it is also geared with social media features that will make your newsletters even more enticing. In addition to this, email campaigns can be accessed from desktop as well as mobile devices. It is also possible to create, manage and send feedback surveys to your customers to gain even more insight about them.
Key Contact Management Features: demographic segmentation, social media tools, account health meter, group email contacts, remove contacts that are no longer subscribed, contact migration, user-friendly dashboard, automatically detect, opt-in requirement.
Email Creation Features: survey creation, drip campaign, mobile preview, desktop & mobile-friendly templates, A/B testing (with custom plans), advanced inbox, email setup wizard, etc.
Reporting & Sending Features: forwarded, bounced, open, deleted emails, reports download & exporting, unsubscribed contacts, email tests & scheduling, scheduled triggered messages, CTR tracking, reports comparison, and social media integration.
- The Good: full-featured automation tool.
- The Bad: nothing so far
Price: from $ 15/month to $ 145/month | Type: email creation & reporting
GetResponse can definitely hold its ground against other email marketing software. It has a crisp-looking user dashboard with plenty of useful tools, and impressive contact management features that will enable you to manipulate lists in a variety of ways: by copying them one by one, or automatically uploading them from various file formats and services (examples: Zendesk, Google Docs, Highrise etc.).
However, it is the email-creation tool that really makes GetResponse shine. That’s because it gives four message creation options (using HTML, a template, an archive or a previous link), and the customization possibilities are endless.
Other Features: message preview option, powerful auto-responders based on the behaviour of followers, seasonal messages, comfortable workspace with drop-down features, excellent support.
- The Good: highly customizable messages, tracking features, mobile preview for campaigns.
- The Bad: the only slightly annoying thing about GetResponse was the interface, which is usable, but is not as intuitive as that of its competitors.
Price: basic plan: $ 49/month | Type: email creation & reporting
If you need an email marketing software for your campaigns that does its job well, but isn’t overpriced, you might want to consider GetDrip, a young & slightly underrated lightweight tool with powerful automation capabilities. The company’s sole mission is to ‘pull you from the dark ages into email marketing enlightenment’, at a fraction of the price offered by competitors. Let’s quickly overview the software’s main features. First off, we have the opt-in form styles which can be implemented on a page with the help of a few simple commands. These opt-in forms can appear as widgets, exit-triggered pop-ups, hosted or embedded boxes.
Another cool feature is that of subscriber tagging based on behaviour. Not only can GetDrip automate every email marketing task, but it also has the power to draw important insights and identify leads based on a lead-scoring algorithm – which basically calculates how engaged your follower is. There are plenty of features worth mentioning, but I really enjoyed the email sending options. With GetDrip you can send mails under the form of broadcasts (email blasts), one-offs (emails triggered by specific events), or Drip Campaigns (sequence of mails).
- The Good: Extremely easy to set-up a professional looking opt-in form. Unlike other software which try to solve all the problems of a customer, GetDrip focuses on a simple problem and solves it easily.
- The Bad: A few hiccups and annoyances here and there, but nothing serious.
5. Benchmark Email
Price: free plans for up to 1000 contacts, extended plans start at $ 29.00
According to TopTenReviews, the second-best email marketing software is Benchmark Email. The tool was designed with simplicity in mind, and this means that even entrepreneurs with limited experience in email marketing can fully-utilize the capabilities of Benchmark’s intuitive dashboard. There are plenty of features worth considering, including over 400 customizable templates, excellent social networking functions and monitoring capabilities.
As is the case with other email marketing tools, Benchmark also offers migration capabilities which can be used to add contacts one at a time, or with the help of CSV, XLS or TXT files. Naturally, these contact lists can be filtered later according to different parameters.
I really loved the software’s email blast feature which uses interactive & easy-to-understand call-to-actions such as surveys or polls. Images and other page elements can be added with a few simple clicks. Benchmark has social networking capabilities similar to those of iContact. Facebook, Pinterest, Flicker, Twitter, LinkedIN and Yelp accounts can be added in association with your branded emails. But it is the software’s sending & reporting feature that truly sets it apart from competitors.
The tool is capable of tracking information such as CTR, opened messages, unsubscribes etc. In addition to this, a nifty mapping feature will also tell you where your customers are to help you determine what types of emails are most successful. The visual representation of statistics is also clear and concise, making it extremely easy to keep track of performance.
All in all, Benchmark Mail is a powerful email marketing software suite that you should seriously consider using, especially if you are a beginner.
- The Good: Splendind statistics and stats, interesting data
- The Bad: You have to pay an extra fee for the advanced inbox feature
These are my top 5 picks for email marketing software. Of course, there are other options out there, including Pinpointe, VerticalResponse, MailChimp etc. Want to take a look at more email marketing software? Check out the Top Seven MailChimp Alternatives for Email Marketing Software.
Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community